Down with the Idols
“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.”
-Exodus 20:3-4 (NIV)
Man, I am a workout-aholic. Can I get an amen from anyone else out there? Ever since I was in high school I’ve lived by a motto I read on a t-shirt: “Somewhere, someone is working out. And when you meet her in head-to-head competition, she will beat you.” I think somewhere along the line I adopted that as my personal mantra (especially when I started running), and I have been a gym rat ever since.
It’s a long story full of about 20 devos that I could write, but for the last five months I’ve been battling IT Band syndrome—basically the peskiest thorn in the side of any runner. It’s the one injury that just won’t go away. After five months of physical therapy, stretching, strengthening, foam rolling, icing, blah blah blah, my doctor finally decided to give me a cortisone shot.
Now, my doctor is brilliant, so I didn’t question him. And I’m currently two days post-injection. The knee is still a little sore and painful, but it’s too early to tell whether or not the shot worked. But here’s where the REAL test came in. Right after he gave me the shot, my doctor told me that I wouldn’t be able to work out for three days.
“WHAT??? Me not work out for three days? But I’ll lose training! My muscles will all go into atrophy, and I’ll become a blob of unfit flesh! Three days???”
Okay, stop. Take a deep breath. Evaluate. This sounds a little unbalanced to me.
When did I get so driven that I was being controlled by my training schedule? When did I get so caught up in the physical training that it became impossible for me to rest and allow my body to heal? That is NOT of God. In fact, I am confident that He allowed this brief break to show me just how much of an idol I’d created out of training.
God is a jealous God. Not jealous in the way we often think of it in that we are possessive of something. God is jealous FOR us. That means that He doesn’t want us to get caught up in things of this world that don’t satisfy or are even harmful to us. He’s jealous for our hearts because He wants to protect them and care for them.
For me, training had become an idol in my life. And praise God that He allowed me to see that. No, it’s not easy for me to rest, but I’m so thankful that He spared me from continuing down the path of idolatry any longer. Nothing of this world will satisfy. Everything that is not God will eventually fail us. If we continue to worship idols, they will eventually break out hearts. Our bodies will break down, and we will be devastated. Relationships will break, and we will be crushed. Money will disappear, and we will be broken. But our God remains faithful forever. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And He is the ONLY thing that can hold that kind of position in our lives.
Today, I really challenge you to examine the idols in your own lives. What are you prioritizing and holding above God? Please allow Him to remove it. Hold it out to Him with an open hand so that He can fill whatever void in your life is being covered by that idol. Let His everlasting love and faithfulness reign in your heart and bring peace to your soul like nothing else can. And above all, trust Him, for He works ALL together for the good of those who love Him.
1. What is the top priority in your life?
2. Why are you afraid of handing it over to God?
3. Do you trust Him?
2 Corinthians 11:2